Demystifying Watercolor

Linda James grew up in the midwest and received a BFA in Painting from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1971.
Her path in life has always included a range of overlapping interests. For over 40 years, Linda has been a freelance graphic designer. In addition, she operated a fiber arts studio in the 70s, raised a family in the 80s, became an herbalist in the 90s, and had an herbal health care practice in the early 2000s. Indigenous art forms have always intrigued her – including Indonesian ikat and shibori, aboriginal dot paintings, Native American carving and basketry, and African and Central American textiles. There is a spiritual content in all of these art forms that unifies them. It is that focused intent that influences her present work in watercolor. In 2010, she began creating one-of-a-kind handpainted artist books. Creating visual narratives is of particular interest as well as exploring the emotional and spiritual vibration of color. Her paintings continue to be exhibited regionally and are in private collections around the country.
Saturday, Sunday
9:30 A.M.-4:30 P.M.
All Levels Welcome
Gage Capitol Hill
  • Tube watercolors, professional grade. My favorite brands are Daniel Smith, Winsor & Newton, DaVinci and Holbein. Most brands come in 14 or 15 ml tubes. Winsor & Newton offers 5 ml tube sizes. Avoid buying paints that have the words “Hue” or “Mixture” in the name. They will not yield the same results as pure pigments. Basic palette:
    • Aureolin Yellow
    • Cadmium Yellow Light or Medium
    • Quinacridone Gold
    • Rose Madder Genuine
    • Cadmium Red Light or Medium
    • Permanent Rose
    • Cobalt Blue
    • French Ultramarine Blue or Ultramarine Blue
    • Phthalo (Winsor) Blue – Green shade
    • Burnt Sienna
  • Brushes. Look for mixed synthetic/natural hair brushes, but there are some good synthetic brushes available and they tend to be more affordable.
    A #8 round and a 3/4” flat (optional – a #3 or #4 round)
    Note: Check out the discounted brushes at Artist and Craftsman Supply at 4350 8th Ave NE. They have a variety of decent seconds available for $1 to $4 each.
  • Painting or drawing board: If you don’t already have one, a good option is to get an 18” x 18” Artist Tote Board. They also come in larger sizes.
  • A white plastic 18-well (or larger) covered palette – there are several available. Here’s one example: These palettes are also available locally.
  • Roll of 3/4” drafting tape, artist’s tape or Scotch-blue painter’s tape
  • Small 2 or 4 oz. plastic spray bottle

I will supply watercolor paper, artist sponges, pencils, water cups, paper towels, and additional watercolor pigments for experimentation. There will be an $20 supply fee for the watercolor paper, handouts, and use of additional pigments.

If you have any questions, email me at

A no-pressure way to explore the watercolor medium, we will focus on technique and a clear understanding of the pigments, brushes, and papers. There will be a specific focus on play and experimentation — using watercolor and abstraction as the vehicle for personal expression.